The exterior of The Stanley Hotel

Haunted Denver

From the archives: this article was originally posted on October 4, 2022

TW: This article contains content that some may find distressing.  

Denver has its share of haunted locations. From hotels to museums to parks, there’s a fright somewhere for everyone. Plus, the city is home to many nighttime walking tours that will teach you the history, legends, and lore of much of downtown Denver. You might even get to see some paranormal activity! Get a head start and read about a few of Denver’s creepiest spots below.  

Brown Palace Hotel

The exterior of the Brown Palace Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Brown Palace Hotel

Although the Brown Palace Hotel is perhaps better known now for its rooftop bee colonies, which help pollinate the area and provide honey for the hotel, apparitions are common here. As one of the oldest standing buildings in downtown Denver, it makes sense that some guests decided to never leave. The most-well known of these ghosts includes a man dressed as a train conductor. He stands by the entrance to the hotel but will disappear as you approach. Other reports include a waiter standing by the service elevator and a baby crying in the boiler room.  

Molly Brown House

Another one of the oldest buildings in Denver, the Molly Brown House was home to the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, a human-rights activist and philanthropist who survived the sinking of the Titanic. The house is open to the public today as a museum after extensive restorations in the 1970s. Visitors can often smell a pipe inside the home, which Molly Brown’s husband, JJ Brown, used to smoke. Museum staff have also reported rearranged furniture, loose lightbulbs, and apparitions roaming the house. Try the Ghosts of Capitol Hill Tour, which ends at the Molly Brown House.The blue mustang sculpture outside DIA

Denver International Airport

Anyone arriving or departing from the Denver airport has seen the iconic Blue Mustang sculpture, often referred to as “Blucifer” (Blue Lucifer). This massive, bright blue horse has unnerving red eyes that look out over the Rockies as he rears up on his hind legs. Many have said this sculpture is cursed after the accidental death of sculptor Luis Jiménez, who was killed after a piece of the sculpture fell on him. In addition to Blue Mustang, DIA is host to many conspiracy theories based on the strange artwork and gargoyles found inside. Next time you’re waiting for a flight, keep your eyes open for the sinister murals. 

Cheesman Park 

As a popular picnic spot for Denverites, it might surprise (or disturb) you to know hundreds of bodies are buried under the grass. In 1859, Mount Prospect Cemetery opened its gates on the 160 acres of land. As time went on, the rundown cemetery was slated to become a park, meaning thousands of bodies needed to be moved. The infamous undertaker E.P. McGovern began dismembering bodies to fit them in smaller coffins for a larger profit. The city fired him after he had removed only 1,000 bodies. Instead of properly completing the task, the city simply removed the remaining headstones. Visitors now can often see shadowy figures moving through the park and the outlines of headstones, and there have been reports of terrifying wails and cries. Check out the Cheesman Park Ghost Tour throughout October.

A black and white photograph of the Mount Prospect Cemetery

Mount Prospect Cemetery

Fun fact: The Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street is located next to Cheesman Park, on land that was originally the Mount Prospect Cemetery. In 1950, thousands of bodies buried there were removed during construction for the Botanic Gardens. However, it’s become common for construction crews to find splintered wood and human remains when digging for renovations or landscaping.  

The Oxford Hotel 

This 131-year-old hotel is no stranger to paranormal activity, from reports of locked bathroom stalls and running faucets to apparitions. Its most famous room, Room 320, is where a young woman committed murder before taking her own life in 1898. Single, male guests who have stayed in that room have reported the sheets being pulled from the bed and feeling their arms pulled. The hotel bar is also home to a postal worker who was found murdered in the 1930s. Before his death, he had stopped at the hotel bar for a drink before finishing his deliveries. Bartenders have reported serving a beer to a postal worker, watching him finish his drink and leave, before cleaning the spot and finding the beer bottle completely full.

The exterior of The Stanley Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Stanley Hotel

Bonus: The Stanley Hotel 

While not in Denver proper, the Stanley Hotel deserves a mention. This Estes Park hotel is the well-known inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. Guests staying in Room 217, including Stephen King as he wrote the horror novel, have reported unwanted housekeeping services such as items being unpacked or put away. This is because in 1911, the hotel’s housekeeper was killed in an explosion in that very room. In addition, the sound of children playing can be heard throughout the halls of the hotel, even when no children are present.